Sunday, June 11, 2023

New Stakes Created in Utah (3), Oklahoma (2), Peru (2), the Dominican Republic, the DR Congo, Ecuador, Idaho, Mozambique, North Carolina, Togo, and Washington; New District Created in the DR Congo; Stakes Discontinued in Utah (4), Florida (2), England, and Oregon; Districts Discontinued in Russia (3), Romania (2), Australia, Belarus, and Fiji


There new stakes were created and four stakes were discontinued in Utah.

The Lehi Utah Cold Spring Ranch was created on March 19th from the Lehi Utah Holbrook Farms Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Cold Spring Ranch 1st, the Cold Spring Ranch 2nd, the Evans Farm, the Hardman Farms, the Holbrook Farms 2nd, and the Holbrook Farms 3rd Wards. There are now 20 stakes in Lehi.

The Eagle Mountain Utah Porter's Crossing was created on April 16th from the Eagle Mountain Utah East Stake. The new stake includes the following eight wards: the Brookhaven, the Chilton Park, the Kiowa Valley, the Liberty Farms, the Porter’s Crossing, the Ranches Parkway 2nd (Spanish), the Skyline Ridge, and the South Pass Wards. There are now 10 stakes in Eagle Mountain.

The West Haven Utah North Stake was created on May 21st from the Ogden Utah West Stake and the West Haven Utah Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Riverbend, the Wilson 2nd, the Wilson 3rd, the Wilson 4th, and the Wilson 5th Wards and the Park (Care Center) and Water Tower (Correctional Facility) Branches.

The Salt Lake Foothill Stake (organized in 1957) was discontinued. The stake had five wards and one branch prior to its closure. One of the five wards was discontinued, and the retained congregations were reassigned to the Salt Lake Hillside Stake (renamed Salt Lake Wasatch Stake).

The Salt Lake Cottonwood Heights Stake (organized in 1978) was discontinued which had six wards and one branch prior to its closure. Three wards closed as part of the stake consolidation. Retained units were reassigned to the Cottonwood Heights Utah Brighton Stake, Salt Lake Butler West Stake, and the Salt Lake Cottonwood Stake.

The Sandy Utah Crescent Park Stake (organized in 1987) was discontinued which had six wards and one branch prior to its closure. Two wards closed when the stake was discontinued. All retained congreations were reassigned to the Sandy Utah Crescent North Stake (which was renamed to Sandy Utah Dimple Dell Stake).

The Kearns Utah Western Hills Stake (organized in 1981) was discontinued. The stake had five wards prior to its closure, and none of the wards were discontinued. Wards in the former stake were reassigned to the Kearns Utah Stake and the Kearns Utah Central Stake.

There are now 628 stakes and 2 districts in Utah.


Two new stakes were created in Oklahoma on May 7th. 

The Gore Oklahoma Stake was organized from the Broken Arrow Oklahoma Stake (organized in 1978) and the Fort Smith Arkansas Stake (organized in 1978). The new stake is essentially a reinstatement of the Muskogee Oklahoma Stake which operated from 1983 until 1991 and which is the only stake to have ever been discontinued in Oklahoma. The new stake includes the following five wards and three branches: the Gore, Henryetta, McAlester, Muskogee, and Sallisaw Wards and the Eufaula, Poteau, and Talihina Branches.

The Owasso Oklahoma Stake was organized from the Bartlesville Oklahoma Stake (organized in 2014) and the Broken Arrow Oklahoma Stake. The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Claremore, Elm Creek, Lake Valley, Pryor, and Ranch Creek Wards and the Skiatook Branch. There are now three stakes in the Tulsa area

There are now 11 stakes in Oklahoma.


Two new stakes were created in Peru.

The Trujillo Perú Jerusalén Stake was organized on April 30th from a division of the Trujillo Perú Esperanza Stake (organized in 1998). The new stake includes the following five wards: the Arévalo, the El Milagro, the Jerusalén, the Los Robles, and the Nuevo Trujillo Wards. The new stake marks the first time since 1998 when a stake was organized in the city (there were three stakes created that year in Trujillo). There are now eight stakes in Trujillo.

The Iquitos Perú San Juan Stake was organized on May 21st from a division of the Iquitos Perú Nueve de Octubre Stake (organized in 1995). The new stake includes the following five wards and one branch: the Avianca, Los Delfines, San Juan, Santa Clara, and Secada Wards and the Nauta Branch. There are now four stakes in Iquitos. The Church previously operated five stakes in Iquitos from 1995 until 1998 when two of the five stakes were discontinued (Iquitos Peru Mi Peru and Iquitos Peru Sachachorro - both of which did not operate in the area of the new stake in Iquitos but instead functioned in central and northern areas of the city). A temple was announced for Iquitos in April 2023.

There are now 115 stakes and 17 districts in Peru.

Dominican Republic 

A new stake was created in the Dominican Republic. The La Vega Dominican Republic Stake was created from the La Vega Dominican Republic District and a portion of the Santiago Dominican Republic East Stake on December 18th, 2022. The new stake includes the following six wards: the Conani, Jarabacoa, La Espanola, Los Framboyanes, Moca, and Primavera Wards. The new stake is actually a reinstated stake, as a stake previously operated in La Vega from 1998 until 2009 when it was discontinued and divided into three districts (La Vega, Bonao, and Cotuí). With seven stakes in the Santiago area now, the region appears likely to have a temple announced given distance to Santo Domingo.

There are now 22 stakes and 8 districts in the Dominican Republic.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo)

A new stake and a new district were created in the DR Congo. The Ngandajika Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake was organized from the Ngandajika Democratic Republic of the Congo District on March 12th. The new stake includes the following five wards and two branches: the Kabanda, Kabidimba, Mboka, Ngandajika, and Tshioji Wards and the Kalubanda and Kasonji Branches. The original district in Ngandajika was created in 2016, and the first branch in the city was organized in 2008. 

The Kisangani Democratic Republic of the Congo District was created on April 1st. All six branches in the city that previously reported directly to the Democratic Republic of the Congo East Mission now pertain to the new district, including the Kabondo, Kisangani, Lubunga, Makiso, Mangobo, and Tshopo Branches. The Church created its first branch in Kisangani in 2015.

There are now 27 stakes and 3 districts in the DR Congo.


A new stake was created in Ecuador. The Riobamba Ecuador Stake was created from the Riobamba Ecuador District on May 21st. All five branches in the former district (organized in 1992) became wards in the new stake, including the Bellavista, the Guaranda, the La Joya, the La Primavera, and the Los Álamos Wards. The area has appeared to have been preparing for some time to become a stake, as evidenced by the discontinuation of the short-lived Guaranda Ecuador District which operated from 2016-2019 with only two branches (which were merged into a single branch). 

There are now 44 stakes and 4 districts in Ecuador.


A new stake was created in Idaho on March 26th. The Caldwell Idaho Snake River Stake was created from a division of the Caldwell Idaho Stake and the Caldwell Idaho East Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards and one branch: the Caldwell 16th, the Caldwell 4th, the Caldwell 6th, the Homedale 1st, the Homedale 2nd, the Marsing 1st, and the Marsing 2nd Wards and the Jordan Valley Branch. There are now three stakes in the Caldwell area.

There are now 138 stakes in Idaho.


A new stake was created in Mozambique on May 14th. The Beira Mozambique Munhava Stake was organized from a division of the Beira Mozambique Stake and the Beira Mozambique Manga Stake. The new stake includes the following six wards and one branch: the Mananga, Manga Loforte, Maraza 1st, Mascarenha, Munhava, and Pioneiros Wards, and the Maraza 2nd  Branch. The new stake was primarily made from the Beira Mozambique Stake which had 145 men sustained to receive the Melchizedek Priesthood at the time of the conference. Moreover, the Church organized two new wards and one new branch when the new stake was created - all located within the newly organized stake. There are now three stakes in Beira (the two previous stakes were created in 2015 and 2017). A temple was announced for Beira in 2021. 

There are now six stakes and one district in Mozambique.

North Carolina

The Church organized a new stake in North Carolina on March 19th. The Wake Forest North Carolina Stake was organized from a division of the Raleigh North Carolina Stake and the Raleigh North Carolina South Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards and two branches: the Falls Lake, Franklinton, Henderson, Knightdale 1st, Wake Forest 1st, Wake Forest 2nd, and Zebulon Wards and the Creedmoor and Knightdale 2nd  Branches. 

There are now 20 stakes in North Carolina.


A new stake was created in Togo on May 7th. The Lomé Togo Agoe Stake was created from a division of the Lomé Togo Be Stake (organized in 2013), the Lomé Togo Tokoin Stake (organized in 2017), and a mission branch (Tsevie). The new stake includes the following three wards and five branches: Agoe Nyive, the Apedokoe, and Kélegougan Wards, and the Adetikope, the Adidogome, the Djagble, the Sanguéra, and the Tsevie Branches. It is highly likely that not all branches that have become wards have been updated in the Church's meetinghouse locator or the advancement of more branches into wards will occur in the immediate future (similar to what was seen in Nairobi, Kenya earlier this year when a third stake was also created in that city). 

There are now three stakes in Togo.


A new stake was created in Washington on February 26th. The Richland Washington South Stake was created from the Kennewick Washington Stake. The new stake includes the following seven wards: the Badger Canyon, the Badger Mountain, the Grandridge, the Meadow Springs, the Rancho Reata, the Temple Meadow, and the Willowbrook Wards. There are now seven stakes in the Richland area.

There are now 60 stakes in Washington.


Two stakes were discontinued in Florida in May. The Fort Lauderdale Florida Stake (organized in 1970) was discontinued and retained units were reassigned to the Coral Springs Florida Stake (organized in 1994) and the Miami Lakes Florida Stake (organized in 1998). The Miami Florida South Stake (organized in 1992) was combined with the Miami Florida Stake (organized in 2015). The Church in South Florida originally had four stakes between 2008 until 2014 when the Boynton Beach Florida Stake was organized followed by the Miami Florida Stake in 2015 (there were five stakes between 1998 and 2008 until the Spanish-speaking stake was discontinued in 2008). Each of the stakes had few congregations after the creation of these two stakes, and consequently, it appears that the Church has sought to strengthen the stakes by essentially reverting back to having only four stakes again in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale area. 

There are now 32 stakes in Florida.


The Church discontinued a stake in the London area in May. The Watford England Stake (organized in 1996) was discontinued and congregations in the stake were reassigned to the St Albans England Stake, the Thames Valley England Stake (was previously called the Reading England Stake), and the London England Hyde Park Stake. Local members report plans to discontinue two additional stakes in the area by mid-2023 in order to reduce the leadership burden on a small number of active members in the area. This marks the first time the Church in Europe has ever gone through a significant redistricting of stakes on this scale. Thus far, there have not been any significant consolidation of congregations, however. The Church in the United Kingdom has experienced steady decline in the number of congregations for decades, and these changes are unsurprising given this trajectory and efforts to create stakes with larger numbers of congregations with more active members than historical averages. The discontinuation of the Watford England Stake marks the second time a stake has been discontinued in the United Kingdom.

There are now 43 stakes in the United Kingdom.


A stake was discontinued in Oregon. The Milwaukie Oregon Stake (organized in 1979) was discontinued. Three of the five wards in the stake also closed, and the retained units were reassigned to the Oregon City Stake and the Portland Oregon Stake. The Church in the more central areas of Portland has experienced a rapid decline during the past decade. There has only been one other instance of a stake being discontinued in Oregon, and this was the Portland Oregon East Stake in 2015. 

There are now 34 stakes in Oregon.


The Church discontinued three districts in Russia, including the Samara Russia District (organized in 2015 but previously operated and was reinstated in 2015), the Volgograd Russia District (originally organized in 2002, discontinued in 2013, and reinstated in 2015), and the Vladivostok Russia District (originally organized in 1996, but has gone through periods of being discontinued and reinstated). Branches in the former Samara Russia District and Volgograd Russia District were reassigned to the Saratov Russia Stake, whereas branches in the former Vladivostok Russia District now report directly to the Russia Novosibirsk Mission. The discontinuation of these districts has appeared to be the result of consolidating limited leadership and the closure of many branches in recent years which has accelerated as a result of religious freedom restrictions and the current war in Ukraine. 

There are now three stakes and three districts in Russia. In contrast, there were 3 stakes and 10 districts in 2018.


The Church consolidated its three districts in Romania into a single district in early 2023. The discontinued districts were the Bucharest Romania District (organized in 1982) and the Cluj-Napoca Romania District (organized in 2009). The Brașov Romania District now has 15 branches. A similar change was made in Poland in 2020 and may signal efforts to try to strengthen local leadership and perhaps create a stake at some point, although only a couple of branches appear large enough to become wards. The Church plans to reinstate the Romania Bucharest Mission (originally organized in 1993) next month after it was discontinued in 2018.


The Church discontinued the Norwa Australia District (organized in 1992) which has had three branches for many years. One branch closed as part of the changes (Ulladulla) which had only approximately 10 active members as of the mid-2010s. The two retained branches were reassigned to the Canberra Australia Stake which previously had only four wards and one branch (and has had this few units for decades). Moreover, the Norwa Branch was advanced into a ward, resulting in the realigned Canberra Australia Stake having five wards and two branches now. 

There are now 41 stakes and 6 districts in Australia.


The Church discontinued the Minsk Belarus District which had two branches prior to its closure. The Vitebsk Branch closed as part of these changes. The Minsk Branch was reassigned to the Moscow Russia Stake and became a ward. There are now no districts in Belarus.


The Church discontinued the Korovou Fiji District (organized in 2017) and the five branches in the district were reassigned to the Lautoka Fiji Stake and the Nausori Fiji Stake. No branches were discontinued as part of this district discontinuation.


Michael Worley said...

It seems that a number of these changes reflect larger sociodemographic changes. Portland is not known for being a family-centered city any more. Increasing religious diversity in Utah combined with rapid growth means new stakes in areas where there are new homes (Eagle Mountain) and stakes closed as % LDS in those stakes drops from, say, 60% to 40%. (Made up numbers). Russia is not friendly to religious freedom, nor Belarus.

I wonder how long San Francisco will have a stake, for similar reasons to Portland. (I love San Fran, please don't misunderstand... the city is just struggling as a whole with homelessness and cultural issues such as drug use and crime. I would love Portland as well but I haven't lived in Oregon. :))

Michael Worley said...

Housing prices are also an issue. Glendale, CA, for example, has gone from 1 stake to 2 wards in a generation. But prices-- $1 million homes for even modest homes-- make living there not workable for many families. This holds true whether you're looking at a one-income household or a two-income household.

WestBerkeleyFlats said...

I'm confused. I thought per a blog post from 2016 entitled "In the long run, all is well: A case study in LDS Church Growth (Glendale, California)" that the church was doing just fine in Glendale with 5 wards, but now someone is reporting that there are 2 wards?

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Ohhappydane33 said...

It appears that the Romford and Maidstone England stakes are going under reorganization today. Not sure if one or both is being discontinued.

Ohhappydane33 said...

Judging from the current make-up of the La Crescenta California Stake (since the Glendale California Stake no longer exists), it is unlikely that there are five English speaking family wards in Glendale today.

Eric S. said...

Two new stakes were created in Saratoga Springs Utah today. I don't know the names, but there was a big multi-stake conference where what was 3 stakes is now reorganized into 5 stakes.

Colin said...

It is Nowra, not Norwa.

Noel said...

Maidstone Stake in England has gone.

I think London region has a lot of social demographic changes. London itself young city, and Muslim population is increasing.

Trouble is people moving out of London are looking for cheaper housing, and Stakes like Watford, Maidstone are not cheap.

Yet in my ward, far end of commuter belt we see a lot of new faces. With post CoVid Hybrid working, commuters are going to London offices, 4 days or less. Friday and Monday commuter trains are not as full, and in some cases reduced services.

Noel said...

What is the difference between Home Teaching and Minstering?

I live alone, same place 23 years, 1/2 mile from the chapel.

Prior to 2017 I often went Home Teaching, once a month, me and my companion sometimes only had one successful visit in a month. But we contacted our assigned every quarter, even if they said no thanks.

My companion died in 2017.

Because of shifts I was put into a three team companionship Then ministry came along.

In the years I think HT visits in my home were at best annually.
2017 saw my Dad and close friend (my HT companion as well) die.

Ministering contacts been zero.
I often believe we learn from each other, not being ministered after rare HT visits, I have no clue about ministering now.

Why do I mention this, I live in England, less active, critics seem almost jubilant Maidstone and Wandsworth Stakes have gone.

I don’t know the state of ministering in England, but if it’s as bad as Home Teaching, no wonder post CoVid the Church in England is struggling.

WestBerkeleyFlats said...

The problem in Glendale is obviously that everyone is a porn addict. Don't get me wrong - I love San Fern (do tourists call it that like they do with San Francisco?), but every street corner looks like a scene from "Boogie Nights" - the unedited version. Amazingly, it hasn't driven away families, given that the population has slightly increased over the last 25 years and 70% of households are families.

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Chris D. said...
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Matt said...

Today Elder Bennett, a General Authority Seventy, spoke at the Colorado Springs Colorado Stake conference where our stake presidency was reorganized. He specifically spoke about a temple in Colorado Springs, and he noted that there will be a temple in Colorado Springs one day once there are enough members to staff the temple and there are "stacks" of family names prepared by local members to keep the temple busy. So I would count this as an example of a publicly proposed temple which can be added to Rick's site of four other such temples that have been proposed but have not yet been announced (e.g., Vilnius Lithuania, New Delhi India, Tirana Albania, Maracaibo Venezuela). My understanding from speaking to ordinance workers is that the five stakes in Colorado Springs account for most of the patrons and temple workers who use the Denver Colorado Temple (even though this temple has about a dozen stakes in the Denver area assigned to it). I would say we are there for the city to keep a temple moderately busy given historical attendance trends and interest.

James G. Stokes said...

Matt, my understanding of the "publicly proposed" page of the Church Temples site includes only those temples publicly proposed by members of the First Presidency or Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. I could be mistaken, but to my knowledge, that page has never included temples publicly proposed by any GA Seventies. I hope someone will correct me if I'm wrong on that.

Pascal Friedmann said...

My trainer from the mission was from the Romford stake. He always told stories about how small that stake was, how there weren't really a lot of youth his age growing up, and how his dad had been in a bishopric for an exceptionally long time (I think it was 9 years and counting then) because there wasn't enough leadership in the ward to replace him. That was more than 10 years ago so I am surprised Romford held on this long; but I think in general, having a larger stake that is truly self-sustaining is always a better choice. With wards it's more complicated, but stake consolidations do not tend to have the social outfall that is possible in the worst case when wards are merged.

Chris D. said...

Not entirely Church growth related, but here is an interesting short video by Infographics on Youtube, about recent Population migration changes in general over the continental USA.

"Why So Many Americans Are Fleeing These Areas"

It may give some insight also about the changing Metropolitan areas in Church growth or decline in certain areas.

Any comments?

James G. Stokes said...

It's also worth noting that not even all temples publicly referenced by apostles is listed on that page. There have been at least 3 times I heard about those kinds of proposals and they were deemed not eligible for inclusion on the Church Temples site, primarily due to lack of confirmation by reliable sources. Again, if I'm incorrect on that, I hope someone will set the record straight.

Chris D. said...

Also posted yesterday on the Reddit site, mentioned yesterday by Ohhappydane33 here. The Gilbert Arizona Stake was realigned this week also.

And searching found a screenshot on Instagram of the new ward boundaries, since the Windrift Ward was merged.

James G. Stokes said...

No temple construction announcement today. Hopefully later this week.

Matt said...

Other Matt here ....

Gilbert Stake's website has maps of the updated ward boundaries. From the looks of it, Gilbert Stake is an older Stake with an older housing stock. So naturally older neighborhoods tend to have fewer members as empty nesters move out, or the neighborhood becomes more transient with more rental properties.

Jim Anderson said...

Not only the five in Colordo Springs as far as stakes, but also Pueblo and any nearby on the US 24, 50, and 160 corridors. Not too far west of the Rockies but at least the next bit towns west of them.

Lehi will get theirs soon, that was the original number of stakes, 20, that first made up the Provo City Center temple district in 2016m although soon they added the YSA stakes south half of BYUm nine more.

James G. Stokes said...

Jim Anderson, it occurred to me to wonder if the hiatus on Utah temple announcements will continue until next April. By that time, Orem, Red Cliffs, Layton, and Taylorsville should be dedicated, and there will be more room in the queue for new temples. I'd say that it seems to be 50/50 whether the next Utah Temple may be announced for either Herriman or Lehi.

Jim Anderson said...

That is most likely as it will mean they will have crews to build more, The St. George renovation is about done and Manti may wrap up late this year or sometime next.

Chris D. said...

Confirmed earlier today on the Meetinghouse Locator website, both the "London England Wandsworth Stake" and the "Maidstone England Stake" have been discontinued this weekend. The units absorbed into neighboring Stakes, i.e., most of the Maidstone Wards went to the Canterbury England Stake.

Also in the realignment of the Stakes, confirmed the "Romford England Stake" has been renamed "Thames East England Stake".

All 3 have also been updated on Rick's Temples website.

Still waiting confirmation on the meetinghouse site, the organization of 2 new stakes in Saratoga Springs Utah area.

Michael Worley said...


1. You did your homework on my thoughts on Glendale, but I understated the church's presence in Glendale. I unintentionally ignored an YSA and SA ward in Glendale, so it looks like the 5 wards went to 4, not 2. If our only metric is english-speaking family wards, yeah, it is 1.
2. I was deliberately trying NOT to imply sexually controversial issues like porn are the cause of the decline in these metro areas, though other cultural changes are. Obviously I failed.

James said...

Hey Matt, I'm curious who initiates a ward split, a branch to ward conversion, a stake it the stake president for wards, and the area authority for stakes?

And then on the flipside, who initiates an appeal for a ward to be discontinued or a stake to dissolve?

Seems that if local or area leaders are supposed to initiate both of these, you may see stake and ward closures occur coinciding with leadership turnover. If I was a Stake President, the last thing I'd want to do at the end of my 10 years of service is shut down a ward. On the other hand, I'd love to convert a branch into a ward or get my stake split! But if I was a new stake president, I'd like to set myself up for success early on and wouldn't mind realignment of units I had no major hand in creating.

John said...

I was involved with many ward divisions, realignments, and yes, one closing as an assistant stake clerk. It is initiated by the stake president, sometimes in consultation with Area leadership. And it really isn't often timed to the stake president's tenure - it happens when it needs to happen.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

The realignment and consolidation of wards in my old Ogden stake was one of the best things that could have happened to us. We finally had a good number of people at Sacrament Meeting (plus, we got to switch bishops). ;)

Chris D. said...

Updated earlier today both on the Meetinghouse locator site and Rick's Temple Districts site, 2 new Stakes in Saratoga Springs Utah :

Saratoga Springs Utah Quailhill
Saratoga Springs Utah Riverside

JTB said...

Both the Eagle Mountain Utah West Stake and the Eagle Mountain Utah Cedar Pass Stake have 11 wards, so it's very possible that we will see additional stakes formed in Eagle Mountain by the end of the year. It's incredible how quickly that area is growing

John Pack Lambert said...

Older neighborhoods get fewer people as empty nester do not move out. If 10 years ago it was me, my wife and 3 kids, and now it is just me and my wife you have fewer people. At some point if one of us dies you have even fewer people.

I noticed the guideline was active, full tithe paying melchizedek priesthood holders capable of holding callings for a stake. This would exclude at least one melchizedek priesthood holder in my branch since he is not even healthy enough to come to church.

John Pack Lambert said...

Togo getting a 3rd stake is quite exciting. With Togo and Benin combined having 5 stakes we may see a Lome Togo Temple announced soon.

DR Congo growth is also encouraging. I am not sure they will have a 4th temple announced this year.

Santiago, Dominican Repubkuc looks like a strong candidate for a temple. Same with Lehi, Utah.

Tulsa also looks like a strong temple candidate.

I am hoping somewhere in the eastern portion of North Carolina gets a temple soon. I am not sure which location makes the most sense.

James G. Stokes said...

Chris, the CDOL shows that both stakes were organized on June 11 (last Sunday). The Quailhill Stake consists of the Lexington Green, Quailhill 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th and Talus Ridge 1st Ward. For Riverside, the Neptune Park, Riverside 1st and 2nd, Saratoga Springs 10th, Sunset Haven, Thunder Ridge, and Wander Wards. Hope that helps.

Chris D. said...

James, Also they were both reported earlier in this post by Blogger Eric S. :

"Eric S. said...
Two new stakes were created in Saratoga Springs Utah today. I don't know the names, but there was a big multi-stake conference where what was 3 stakes is now reorganized into 5 stakes.

June 11, 2023 at 2:03 PM"

I was just confirming their correct names for anyone that is keeping track of past/current/future units.

Thank you also for the CDOL confirmation. I appreciate all your insights.

miro said...

Most changes to stake / ward boundaries are initiated by stake Presidents / Bishops.
Larger changes such as happend now in London or in the Past in Mexico City / Tokyo come from the area.
I the statistics of a stake / ward reach certina level the stake President / Bishop might be contantec from the area about a split / discontinuation.

When my stake split in 2007 it was many because of my stake president. So that the split coud happen the area involved 2 other stakes, the new stake boundaries became terrible and special permissiond had to be granted because minimum requirement of totla members (1900) was not met. At that time my stake had 8 wards and 9 branches. The area Presidnet said that if they would not have done the stake split they would had to discontinue a lot of the branches to lessen the burden on the stake president.

James G. Stokes said...

Also, once those changes are initiated at the local level, they are approved at the general level by the Boundary and Leadership Change Committee, which consists of several General Authorities and General Officers. Once they have approved the changes, they are submitted to the Council of the First Presidency and Quorum of the Twelve Apostles for final approval:

Hope these resources are helpful.

Chris D. said...

Just announced today by the First Presidency, a day before the dedication of the new Helena Montana Temple tomorrow. The church has discontinued the Cornerstone Ceremony as part of the Dedication Ceremony.

"First Presidency: Temple cornerstone ceremonies discontinued
Statement issued Saturday, June 17, a day before the Helena Montana Temple dedication

By Scott Taylor 17 June 2023, 6:59 AM MDT"

Also, on a similar note, I wonder why, other than maybe in miles/kilometers distance, the Kalispell Montana Stake will continue to be assigned to the cross international border and going around the Glacier National Park, to Cardston Alberta Temple? And not to the newly dedicated Temple in Helena Montana? Within the same country and state. Just maybe a few more miles to the south in distance. I'm not sure how much travel time with border check is being saved going to Cardston instead of Helena. (as of today) (as of today) (as of tomorrow 06/18/2023)

L. Chris Jones said...

Rick's temple site list Page Arizona is now in the Snowflake Temple district rather than St. George temple where It is much closer. Can someone tell me why? (Even with the temple renovation other stakes were still pertaining to St. George).

Anonymous said...

The website you referred to is not an official website of the Church. The website states that the Helena temple is “anticipated to serve members from” the listed stakes. I am not sure who anticipates that district, but within a few days the website will be updated to remove the word “anticipated” and the list will be reviewed and updated if needed.

Anonymous said...

I seem to remember this type of thing happening during a recent temple renovation. I’d be much more curious as to the reason if Page continues to be assigned to Snowflake after both St. George temples are operating.

JTB said...

A random assortment of stakes that look likely to split in the near future, I'm curious if anyone has any information on any of these stakes:
American Fork Utah South Stake (14 wards)
Orem Utah 2nd Stake - Tongan (14 wards)
Dallas Texas East Stake (12 wards, 1 branch)
La Grande Oregon Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
Iona Idaho South Stake (12 wards)
Springfield Missouri South Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
Far West Missouri Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
Bo Sierra Leone North Stake (12 wards)
Port Harcourt Nigeria West Stake (10 wards, 3 branches)
Eket Nigeria Stake (10 wards, 4 branches)
Uyo Nigeria South Stake (10 wards, 3 branches)
Uyo Nigeria Ibiono Stake (11 wards, 2 branches)
Ikot Ekpene Nigeria Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Binza Stake (10 wards)
Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake (10 wards)
Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Kimbanseke Stake (10 wards)
Kinshasa Democratic Republic of the Congo Mpasa Stake (10 wards, 1 branch)
Kananga Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake (11 wards)
Katuba Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake (11 wards)
Ruashi Democratic Republic of the Congo Stake (10 wards)

Chris D. said...

JTB, and to clarify, this is just my humble opinion, and anyone here is welcome to have a different opinion. From recent history over the last year or so, of several Stake and District consolidations. More recently 3 Stakes of about 5 or 6 congregations in the Greater London region being merged with neighboring stakes, to "strengthen" and become larger 9 or 10 unit Stakes. And last year merging all 3 Districts in the whole country of Romania into 1 larger District of 15 congregations, and other examples for example the 3 districts in the Dar es Salaam Tanzania area with about 15 units each.

My best guess is the Brethren in Salt Lake City HQ, have decided to make this the "new normal" for the organized Stakes or Districts strengthened with 10+ units each. To free up members for Temple workers or just to allow more members to spend more time with their families then would have previously spent most Sundays in leadership meetings, etc.

I may be completely wrong. But as I review many of the Stakes and Districts as they are currently organized on the Meetinghouse locator. I see many in the 10+ units range. So instead of splitting to smaller 5 or 6 units Stakes. We may not see units split until they reach maybe 20+ congregations. Any thoughts?

Maybe Matt would like to comment here from feedback he may get from different sources about the issue.

JTB said...

That's a great point Chris, thank you for your comment. My thought with some of these particular stakes is that they are in areas where the church is growing (rapidly in the case of DRC/Nigeria), and so a stake with 11 wards and a few branches today could easily have 14-15 wards sooner rather than later, with new stakes of 7+ wards in the event of a split. In the case of Europe, I think the larger stakes may possibly be in anticipation of unit closures in the future, so a stake with 10 units now could have 6-7 in a decade or so and still be able to function. That would be my only thought as to potential differences in the sizes of stakes in different areas, but I welcome any thoughts as to that. Again, thank you for your comment!

Kenny said...

There was the idea of splitting the Las Cruces New Mexico stake years ago, property was even purchased for a new stake center, and then it never happened.
The stake has 9 wards and 3 branches, so 12 units total. It is a fairly large stake geographically and splitting it would certainly make travel easier on the stake presidency.
I'm not sure if the pause was due to the new stakes would be 6 units each, one with 4 wards and 2 branches and the other with 5 wards and a branch. That would make it difficult for the smaller stake.

James G. Stokes said...

Groundbreakings were held yesterday for the Belo Horizonte Brazil and Montpelier Idaho Temples. Then today, the Helena Montana Temple was dedicated by Elder Gary E. Stevenson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. With no other groundbreakings scheduled, I think at least one might be announced this week. I also think we could see opening arrangements announced for at least the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple, but I wouldn't be shocked if opening arrangements were also announced for the Orem and/or Red Cliffs Utah Temples.

I think Los Olivos could be dedicated in November or December, with a December window for Orem and a December/January window for Red Cliffs. Any other dedications will likely be set for early next year.

JTB said...

The Amarillo stake has a similar problem, with 8 wards and 8 branches. It's geographically massive, but there aren't enough wards to create two stakes.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone else noticed that many, if not all, of the apostles have lost a noticeable amount of weight?

James said...

@JTB and @Chris D.:

It's hard for me to figure out what is going on with stake splits. Because on one hand, I agree with you, Chris, about the hesitation to create a new stake with 5 units, and to create larger stakes of strength in places like England.

On the other hand, many of these new stakes listed in this post are created with 5-6 units in them.

What I would say is that these stake creations or divisions could be indicators of future expectations of church growth in the area. If the church wants stakes to sit at 10+ units and doesn't divide stakes that theoretically could be divided, it's because they don't anticipate strong growth in that area to support multiple medium-sized stakes in the near future. On the other hand, if stakes are being split to 5 units each, such as in Eagle Mountain, then the church expects each of these stakes to add new wards in the near future (obviously for areas where new builds are happening like Eagle Mountain, this makes sense).

If Stake Presidents are the ones who generally initiate unit openings and closures, it makes total sense to me why units are quick to be created and lag in closures. I would say most local leaders will try everything they can to prevent a unit closure, but the instant a unit could feasibly operate on its own, the local leader would be excited to split a ward/upgrade a branch/split a stake/etc. In this way, we can anticipate that closures are a last resort of sorts and a more reliable indicator of real membership in a given area than unit openings because it goes against the incentives of leadership to promote positive growth.

Daniel Moretti said...

I heard it was President Nelson's order to get everyone fit and healthy. But I could be wrong, because the news here in the provinces is sometimes mere speculation. The most notable change was certainly with my fellow countryman, Elder Soares: he was a chubby guy like me and a year after his call as an apostle he had already become a heartthrob of soap operas from the 80's!

May it serve as an inspiration to all of us that it is possible to lose weight even at an older age

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...


I noticed that with a picture of Elder Oaks at the Virginia Temple Dedication. He was so thin, I thought it was Elder Eyring at first (he was facing away from the camera and walking towards the temple with his wife)

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Chris D.

As a member of the Kalispell Stake, I had wondered the same thing.

I can confirm that we weren't assigned to Helena and are still with Cardston for the time being (even though I was hoping we'd be assigned to Helena and get to participate remotely in the dedication).

This is my guess as to why, though: the Helena Temple is extremely small and they possibly didn't want to overbook it with the addition of our stake. Cardston is large, on the other hand, and can easily handle us.

The brethren probably also figured that, since the Missoula Temple might not take very long to build, we could last another few years crossing the border.

Spokane also is about the same distance for us as Helena, and we have occasional Temple trips there (particularly during the Canadian border lockdown, and another youth trip coming up, too).

My hope now that Helena is dedicated is that we'll see Missoula's Groundbreaking announced soon. My expectation is that it could be completed within the next three years, if they follow Helena's formula.

Pascal Friedmann said...

We had the sister missionaries over for dinner today, and I found out that one of them just previously served in Darmstadt, where I work (it's in a different stake and I've never lived or attended church there, so it's always been a bit of a mystery ward). Somewhat shockingly, I learned that the ward there is actually quite large, with somewhere in the 250 to 300 people range attending each Sunday; that's about three times the attendance from 2016 listed on the Cumorah atlas page. A third or so, especially more recent converts, are from Latin America, and the Frankfurt Stake is apparently quite far along in the process of creating a Spanish ward with an integrated Portuguese group there. The general rise of Spanish congregations in Europe outside of the Iberian peninsula is quite remarkable, and we're just seeing the tip of the iceberg. There is probably much more forthcoming as leaders are becoming more comfortable creating language-specific units despite the very low membership density here.

To be honest, outside of the Church, Latin Americans here are not a visible minority. For example, in Germany with its population of 84 million, there are only about 16,000 Mexicans and 36,000 Brazilians (it's about the same for other Latin American countries relative to their population). I don't think I've ever consciously interacted with any Latin American person outside of Church. But once they meet missionaries, it seems like the few who are here are just outrageously receptive, significantly more so than in their home countries.

Chris D. said...


I like your explanation as to the possible reasons why the Brethren may select to Split/Divide some Stakes / Districts with smaller congregations with vision of mid to long term growth in population trends in the area. As compared to other mergers to create larger 10+ congregations to strengthen and release some members to serve in other callings like current or future Temple workers / Temple leadership / Mission leaderships, etc. or just to rotate within the same stake so the leaders don't get burned out in the Service. Or rotate in fresh ideas in local leadership.

Thanks again for your insights into the issue.

JTB said...


I concur with Chris and agree with your assessment. It makes more sense for initially smaller stakes to be created (5-6 wards) if growth is expected. For most of the stakes I mentioned, I believe that is the case. There are a lot of stakes in the US that are close to or at 10 wards that I wouldn't expect to be split because growth prospects are lacking. Thanks for your thoughts

John Pack Lambert said...

We had over 90 people at sacrament meeting on Sunday. That was our best attendance since Easter, and might be the best we got this year other than Easter. I saw one young brother not only help bless the sacrament but also help set it up who often in the past has not gotten there until almost the end of sacrament. He is 19 now, and just graduated high school so I am not sure what his future plans are.

We had about 5 of our youth graduate from high school, and we have a family of six about to move out. I am also thinking there were no potential converts at church. We just had two families move in. One of 5 who moved into the wife's grandflmothers old house. The wife is an African-American raised in the Church in metro Detroit, the husband is of Samoan and Mexican descent raised in California. They met at BYU-Idaho. They will be here until they decided to move. The other one is a family of 4 where the husband is doing a medical residency in Detroit, they live in Grosse Pointe, the other was the largest family ever to move into the Detroit part of our branch. They will be here 3 years, and we rarely have residents stay after. Thry met at BYU, are Euro-American, and served missions, him in Hawaii and her in Thailand. The other family the husband served his mission in the Marshall Islands.

We also had our casting stake authority be a resident of out branch. Brother Bills was also our first branch president starting in 1994. He is the first member of our branch to serve on a high council. Back when we were a district, he was in the district presidency.

I took my grandkids to the part just down the street from my house and have heard children 6 and under say all sorts of cuss words. I understand why I had a coworker who lived in Detroit who would only take her 5 and 7 year old sons to parks in Dearborn or Southfield, never in the city limits.

We finally have a brother of African origin on my temple worker shift. On other shifts there are some men of African origin who are temple workers. An African-American brother from my branch used to be a temple worker but has since died. He had cancer and was only about 60, maybe not even that. It was very hard. His widow is now our relief society president.

The brother I mentioned on my shift is a resident of Canada and originally from Nigeria.

John Pack Lambert said...

On the idea of dome places not being family friendly. Some areas have had population declines. Writing here in Detroit I know if what I speak. The population of Detroit peaked just around 2 million in 1948. Today I am not sure we even have 700,000 people.

I forgot to mention that there was a big announcement of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Memphis NAACP collaborating today, as one would expect on June tenth. The collaboration in support of the My baby for me program to contact infant mortality has been ongoing for a while. The announcement by Elder Matthew Holland was the Church was donating $500,000 towards the renovation of the Memphis NAACP building mainly to better host the programs of my baby for me there.

The Tabernacle Choir at Temple Square lived streamed their concert in Mexico City. It was also the first tour concert where admission was not charged. They brought the two Mexican women who sang with the choir in April General Conference to also sing with them in the tour. There are 3 members of the choir born in Mexico, all in Mexico City and all joined since 2020.

I have to admit I like the direction President Leavitt and the other leaders are taking the choir.

Joella92 said...

I know the saints in Missoula Mt are not going to attend the temple in their district in washington they will attend the temple only an hour away.

Joella92 said...

Also the Farwest stake just lost to wards, Kearney Mo went to the liberty Mo Stake And Maryville Mo went to the Platte City Stake

Chris D. said...

2 new Temple announcements today :

"First Presidency identifies site for new Wichita Kansas Temple"

"First Presidency announces dedication, open house dates for Orem Utah Temple and closure date for Provo Utah Temple"

Chris D. said...

Also posted today, the new leaders of the Chile Santiago North Mission to begin service in August 2023.

"Learn about the new leaders of the Chile Santiago North Mission
They will begin serving in August"

James G. Stokes said...

Here is the Newsroom link for today's announcements:

While some may suggest that no other temples are likely to be dedicated this year, the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple is just over 1/4 the size of Orem, and 1/5 the size of the Red Cliffs Utah Temple. Since the openings of smaller temples are easier to organize logistically, I think that Los Olivos could still be dedicated before the end of this year. Either on the last Sunday in November or the second or third Sunday in December to round out the year. Red Cliffs might be a January or February dedication.

And with last weekend's groundbreakings for the Belo Horizonte Brazil and Montpelier Idaho Temples, my understanding is that full-scale efforts may get underway on both later this week, and that other groundbreakings might soon be scheduled. I think starting in January, 2-3 temples will be dedicated per month every month for the long term.

miro said...

@Pascal Friedmann
I attenden a ysa conference in Darmstadt about 10 years ago. On Sunday we had sacrament meeting with the Ward. About 500 people presdent (300 ysa). They had 12 young men pass the sacrament and 2 blessing it. Darmstadt has been a strong ward in the church for a long time. It was also for a time the stake center of the Frankfort stake when Frankfort, Friedrichsdorf and Heidelberg where one stake.

JTB said...

Joella, could you clarify your comment that "the Far west stake just lost two wards?" I'm seeing the following units in the Far West Stake, Platte City Stake, and Liberty Stake:

Far West Missouri Stake (11 wards, 1 branch)
Crooked River Ward
Far West Ward
Fishing River Ward
Gallatin Ward
Grand River Valley Ward
Grindstone Creek Ward
Spring Hill Ward
Three Forks Ward
Whitmer Ward
Yellow Creek Ward
Far West YSA Ward
Alta Vista Branch

Platte City Missouri Stake (9 wards, 1 branch)
Atchison Branch
Leavenworth 1st Ward
Leavenworth 2nd Ward
Maryville Ward
Parkville Ward
Platte City Ward
Platte Woods Ward
St Joseph 1st Ward
St Joseph 2nd Ward
Tiffany Springs Ward

Liberty Missouri Stake (12 wards)
Doniphan Ward
Hodge Park Ward
Kearney Ward
Kellybrook Ward
Liberty Ward
New Mark Ward
North Kansas City Ward
Oak Grove Ward
Rush Creek Ward
Shoal Creek Valley Ward
Smithville Lake Ward
Liberty YSA Ward

Pascal Friedmann said...

Probably looking at 1-2 more stakes created in the area over the next couple of years.

Joella92 said...

the far west stake use to have the kearney and maryville wards and they were moved to other stakes.that what they did i nstead of creating a new stake .

JTB said...

Thank you for responding. Even with those changes, those three stakes have 32 wards and 2 branches between them. In the absence of any congregational consolidations I could see additional stakes created, even just one more stake would leave each with 8 wards.

John Pack Lambert said...

Because of how the unit requirement math goes, in theory in some places if you end a ward you could create a new stake. Basically you essentially shift the leadership from that ward to filling the new stake callings. So when you have 32 wards and 2 branches in 3 stakes you may need to go to 31 wards and 1 branch to get 4 stakes.

However things are complex, and there are a lit of factors to consider. Having dealer stakes is not a total plus. Larger stakes have more youth and that can help in some ways.

The pluses and minuses of change and staying the same are complex.

I did notice there was no mention of who will dedicate the Orem Temple. Same is true for rededicating the St. George Temple. Richmond had a post announcement change of who would dedicate it. With 4 of the First Presidency and 12 over 90, and 3 more over 80, not making firm decisions on events so far out makes sense.

On another note Elder Gong just met with the top Muslim leader in Ghana. Ghana is not a majority Muslim country, but there are about 9 million Muslims there. The population is over 30 million. Parts of northern Ghana are I believe majority Muslim though.

James G. Stokes said...

JPL, with the recent exception of Elder Holland, insofar as I am aware, none of the other apostles are experiencing age- or health-related challenges. While it is true that the Church has not indicated the presiding apostle for the St. George rededication and the Orem Utah dedication, I don't think we can assume that those have not been assigned. It seems more likely that the information about the presiding apostle may not be as relevant as the opening arrangements for these announcements.

We've also seen times in the pas twhen the presiding apostle was not named due to the prophet planning to preside at such events. Given the historic nature of the St. George rededication, it could be that the prophet will preside. Unless Elder Holland isn't fully back by then (unlikely), he will also probably be involved.

With the Orem dedication, as I said, the more crucial information is the open house and dedication. The presiding apostle is not as relevant. I was intrigued to see that the two sessions for Orem are at 12:30 and 3;30, which may suggest plans for another temple dedication on that day.

James G. Stokes said...

Sorry. I forgot about the Prophet, who reports being in good health despite using a walker or cane on occasion. But he still reports he is doing well. And Presidents Oaks and Eyring were featured on the Church News podcast on their respective 90th birthdays. Both they and President Ballard report they are doing well and not ready to conclude their earthly missions. So except for President Nelson and Elder Holland, no one has reported age- or health-related challenges.

Matt said...

Other Matt here...

New Preach My Gospel 2.0 was released today on the Gospel Library App.

James G. Stokes said...

Interestingly, the subtitle has changed from "A Guide to Missionary Service" to "A Guide to Sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ". That subtitle reemphasizes the role of all Church members in missionary work. The new manual was announced via a prerecorded video from President Nelson to open what will this year be a four-day Seminar for New Mission Leaders. President M. Russell Ballard presided at the seminar today as the most senior apostle present. In the Church News report on the new "Preach My Gospel", one of the featured pictures showed various members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. Elder Holland was sitting to the right of President Ballard, so I take it as a good sign that may indicate his transition back to full-time service is going well. The Church News will continue to report on the Seminar all weekend, so stay tuned for that.

miro said...

@Matt Mai Newsletter?

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Pascal Friedmann

Nice to hear about the Latin American converts in Germany.

I wonder if, other than the spiritual aspect of conversion, many of them are receptive because the Church provides an option to be a part of a welcoming community with others of their culture, which might be difficult to find elsewhere in a foreign country?

JTB said...

Some promising developments in missionary work from a SLT interview with Elder Cook:

Highlights: Church leaders expect there to be 72,000 missionaries by the end of the year (currently there are 68,000 serving); Convert baptisms through May were at 102,000, an increase of 20,000 over the same period last year; a higher percentage of prospective missionaries are submitting mission papers than previously.

James said...

Thanks, JTB.

Important to note that the number you noted includes all service and senior missionaries as well.

I note this because in the last statistical report in April, there was an obvious drop in senior missionaries. It would be interesting to see where the bump is most concentrated (senior/service/proselytizing).

JTB said...
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JTB said...

This article from the Church News clarifies that the increase to 68,000 missionaries is for full time proselytizing missionaries:

Kyle Zeeman said...

I serve in the Johannesburg, South Africa temple. Batches of Zimbabwean members who will serve in the Harare Zimbabwe temple when it is complete have been undergoing a training program here. From what I understand a group of about 12 members are at the Johannesburg temple for several weeks serving and training 5 days a week, with another batch of about the same size replacing them in a few weeks time. It's fascinating.

Chris D. said...

Matt, I appreciate the update to new Stakes and Districts organized in 2023. Thank you.

Ohhappydane33 said...
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Ohhappydane33 said...
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Pascal Friedmann said...

Not sure if this caught anyone else's attention, but a 25% increase in convert baptisms for the first quarter of 2023 vs. Q1 in 2022 is really quite remarkable. If sustained for the whole year, this would put us back in the 260-280k range we were in prior to the pandemic during the better years. I wonder if this is part of a global trend or the result of Africa rebounding to pre-Covid levels.

James G. Stokes said...

Pascal, I agree. It occurred to me to wonder also how the creation of the Africa Central Area and the latest new missions created in Africa helped to concentrate resources more specifically. If the creation of new areas and missions did play into the increase we saw, perhaps a similar approach in other areas could do the same thing.

James said...

JTB - you're right! I'm a dummy. Sorry - that increase is all in proselyting. I do wonder if there has been similar rebounding in senior/service missionary numbers this year.

Matt said...

The May Newsletter will be coming in the next few days - Sorry, been very busy with work at the moment, and I made it a prior to get some other issues updated first with the blog.

Chris D. said...

Matt, Upon reviewing the Meetinghouse Locator Map website, It appears that the "Kosrae Micronesia District (612669)" has been disorganized at some unknown time. And the remaining 2 branches, Utwe Branch (279208), and Lelu Branch (282618) have been reassigned directly to the Mission. Can you confirm this?

John Pack Lambert said...

Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple will be dedicated January 14th by Elder Christofferson.

James G. Stokes said...

Today's major temple announcement: the dedication of the Lima Peru Los Olivos Temple:

This puts the Red Cliffs Utah and Puebla Mexico Temples at the top of the queue of temples under construction. Construction on the former is completed, while construction on the latter is wrapping up. One or both of those temples could also be dedicated in January, if all goes well. My thanks once again to you all.

Grant Emery said...

At Church on Sunday, they closed the Lee Valley Ward, dividing it between the London North Ward (my ward) and the Whitechapel Ward. All of these are part of the London Hyde Park Stake. Supposedly, this is the last change planned at this time. It was part of a wholesale change they've been rolling out over a couple of months, in total closing three stakes and eight wards in the greater London area.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am reading a book called Africa's World War. It is actually a sequel to another book about the Rwandan Genocide. So it starts by analyzing the results of the Genocide within discussing the large back history.

After the Genocide and the fall ofcthe Hutu government in Rwanda about 2 million Hutu left, over 1.5 million of those went to what was then Zaire. They were dubbed "refugees" but they included lots of former soldiers using Zaire to build up military capacity in preparation for going back to Rwanda.

I am wondering, does the Kigali Rwanda mission have any branches based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. I believe culturally the population of Kiva is very similar to that of Rwanda and Burundi.

John Pack Lambert said...

In the Church News they reported a large number of medical initiatives worldwide. Two of those are in Peru and in DR Congo to help perspective missionaries get medical examinations. Having more missionaries from those countries will help. Especially in the case of DR Congo where most missionaries in that country are from the country.

DR Congo has 111 million people, but will as of next month only have 5 missions. Mexico has 129 million people. There are a lot of reasons why there are not more missions in DR Congo, but getting more missionaries from there serving will help create more missions. I have no clue what percentage of missionaries from DR Congo serve there as opposed to elsewhere. 100% of the general authorities from the DR Congo who served full time missions served elsewhere, but that is a sample size of 1, Elder Thierry K. Mutombo, so it is not a useful study.

It would be interesting to know the breakdown of country of origin for all full-time missionaries. Making the missionary force less Amero-centric was a very big push of President Kimball. Before then it was not much of a goal at all. President Kimball made it so that members everywhere saw a vision of having at least young adults serve missions, so much so that people since then have not had to push the vision much, although sometimes I think we may need to consider why some groups lag behind in sending out missionaries and what can be done to address that. A few things I know suggest to me the vision of senior missionaries has not been as fully embraced.

Randolph Finder said...

Non-member spouse here from the Washington DC Stake. At one point about a Decade ago (before the creation of the YSA Stakes and the Temple Workers ward being discontinued and some realignments), my wife's ward was very big and what I was told is that the rules would not allow for more than 12 units in a given Stake. Given some of the comments in this thread, that isn't true. Is there any rule on the maximum number of units in a stake? Could a Stake have, for example, 9 wards and 4 branches? 14 wards?

Christopher Nicholson said...

Interesting reddit post about church growth that cites this blog. Someone in the comments brings up David Stewart's recent comprehensive study as well. Basically, it claims that as the number of ex-members increases, the church's growth will be reduced even further in the long term as people who are acquainted with these ex-members are less likely to convert.

Ray said...

Randolph, Yes, there are stakes with more than 14 units. The problem with some of these large stakes is that many of the branches and some of the wards don't have enough active members to fill all the necessary callings, and so there's not enough leadership to set up another stake. And some of them, especially small branches, are in danger of closing due to members leaving to find better employment opportunities in larger communities.

James said...

Really interesting link, Christopher Nicholson.

At first, the logic didn't hold up for me. Of course more people will leave if they are influenced by others who have left. Isn't that true for those who join as well?

But the key element of their argument is that the experiences and data supporting an ex member's position are more influential than the experiences and data supporting an orthodox member's position.

I think that in today's world, I buy that argument. The church is going out to the world creating members, but also creating ex-members. And given how abysmal retention has been for the church, and its stance on major social issues, I think I agree with the poster for the most part.

Most of the comments in that thread are all reduced to a debate about whether the church is growing or shrinking. Matt, do you have an opinion on that? Adding up all active membership across the world, is it currently growing or shrinking?

Matt said...

Definitely growing overall with a lot of variability around the world from decline to rapid growth.

twinnumerouno said...


Elder Alfred Kyungu is also from DR Congo. (I think that DRC is the first African nation to get a second GA 70.) I don't see anything about him serving a mission as a young man, but he was mission president in his home country in the Mbuji-Mayi mission.

Not sure how much this impacts the point you were trying to make- my guess is not very much.

Pascal Friedmann said...

I would agree with Matt's assessment. There is definitely some worldwide variability, as you would expect. But I can't think of very many parts of the world where the Church is shrinking for any other reason than member migration and demographic change that is happening in society at-large. Disaffiliation seems to be a minor driver in changes to Church growth and it is happening at a very constant rate, like so much is in global Church growth metrics.

You cannot simply take the number of all members, subtract all the active ones, and assume that the difference has even made a poor experience with the Church and is angry enough to tell anyone about it. Active members outnumber those "angry" ex-members just about everywhere in the world, sometimes by quite a high ratio. In Germany for example, I can think of about two people who were once active in the Church, have left in the last 10 years, and are now actively working against it. The overwhelming majority of those who are no longer interested simply fades into inactivity and no longer cares, with minimal to none feelings of resentment or open hostility. Quite a few actually maintain a rather positive view of the Church and its members but simply conclude that the religion is not for them personally (but might be just right for others). In fact, I have a friend who has resigned from the Church but earlier this year helped the missionaries with teaching and baptizing one of his friends from college. That is also an extreme example, or at least an uncommon scenario, but we should not jump to the conclusion that anyone who leaves the Church is automatically its enemy.

In the western world, quietly leaving any religion is so normal that the few angry voices get drowned out by the noise and eventually fail to serve as a negative reference point to potential converts. Also note that any serious investigator in a reasonably-sized unit is immediately integrated with many (sometimes hundreds) of believers in their new congregation for whom the faith is working. The odds that they were previously acquainted with some of those congregations' members is quite high as well.

Ultimately, people make their own decisions about spirituality and religion, much more so than people did 50 or 100 years ago. Where their friends, colleagues, and family go to church or have gone to church has probably never been less important in history. Unless that trend reverses for some reason, I don't buy the argument that former members have significant influence on Church growth.

Sergio Tourinho said...

A Missao Brasil Salvador teve os seus limites realinhados e passou a ser chamada de Missão Brasil Feira de Santana. A Missão Brasil Salvador Sul foi renomeada para Missão Brasil Salvador e teve os seu limites alterados.
Missao Feira de Santana Brasil ficou com as seguintes Estacas:
Feira de Santana Brasil
Feira de Santana Brasil Kalilandia
Feira de Santana Brasil Norte
Petrolina Brasil
Itabuna Brasil
Vitória da Conquista Brasil
Distrito Porto Seguro

A Missão Brasil Salvador ficou com as seguintes Estacas:
Salvador Brasil
Salvador Brasil Norte
Salvador Brasil Liberdade
Salvador Brasil Imbui
Camacari Brasil
Camacari Brasil Central

JTB said...

"Is the Mormon Church growing? The answer depends somewhat on the point of view. The Mormons make great claims in that regard. They would like to have it true. 'Once a Mormon, always a Mormon,' but it is by no means so. However, they always claim it except in cases of definite apostasy or excommunication. Some who ought to know as well as the writer may differ from him, but it is his conclusion that the number of those who have a vital faith in Mormonism for their own salvation is not largely on the increase...

In spite of their increased force of missionaries all over the world they are not winning the converts they once did. This is largely because foreign nations, as a result of the exposure of their teachings and practices, have expelled their missionaries, or warned their people against them. At their annual conferences the missionaries almost universally sound a note of discouragement."
- Bruce Kinney, 1912

Church membership was 417,555 at the time and primarily concentrated in the Intermountain West. Just something for people to think about.

Chris D. said...

Obrigado, Sergio Tourinho, pela maravilhosa atualização do realinhamento das Missões Brasil Salvador e Brasil Salvador Sul e renomeação das mesmas.

Randolph Finder said...

Is the Church still growing? I'd say that the best way to describe it is "slightly"...

17,002,461 isn't a particularly useful number here. Trying to keep track of stakes and wards may be more useful in determining growth. Significant geographic areas of the Church are shrinking and significant parts are growing, but almost *nowhere* in the Church (a few parts of Africa), is the type of growth seen in the 1970s and 1980s present.

I *don't* count the increase in temples to significantly represent growth. If the rules for population and worthy members to have a temple during Ezra Taft Benson's Presidency as they are today, then we might have seen almost 200 temples by the end of his Presidency rather than the 46 that we actually had during his death. (It is apparent by the announcement of the Oslo temple that 2-3 stakes plus a district is sufficient to support a temple).

(In terms of raw increase, 2022 saw a smaller growth for the Church than 1977 when the *first* Star Wars came out)...

Pascal Friedmann said...

I have an additional thought about potential future Church growth, and it has to do with the level of penetration the Church has reached among different populations worldwide. On a global scale, the Church's presence is still very insular, and the vast majority of people in parts of the world which are open to missionaries have likely never heard of it.

In that sense, real penetration of the Church is likely limited to native English speakers in the western US, especially the Intermountain West. Further south and east in the US, there are areas that are still vastly underserved by the Church. Close to where we used to live, I can think of the towns around Lake Shelbyville in Illinois as a classic example of an underserved area, due to very low member density (virtually zero) and relatively long distance to the nearest meetinghouse. There are around 10,000 people living around Lake Shelbyville and they have likely never received substantial missionary outreach. There are probably thousands of those kinds of places in the eastern and southern US that will be truly reached someday when sufficient numbers of missionaries are available. That's the bottleneck; receptivity isn't (usually). And we're not even talking specific minority outreach, which opens up an entirely new can of resource needs.

In Europe, this theme is significantly more prominent, as most Church presence on the mainland (outside the UK) is in cities with over 100k people, and even among those, quite a few remain unreached, especially in Germany and Eastern Europe. Very little penetration has occurred in cities under 50k. However, experience shows that when missionaries arrive in those smaller cities, they tend to do quite well (on a relative scale) in terms of baptisms.

We also talk a lot about how established the Church is becoming in Latin America, but thousands of small cities in the 20k-50k and larger towns in the 5k-20k range, which could absolutely sustain congregations, are more or less unreached. The same applies to the Philippines on the other side of the globe.

Sub-Sahara Africa is responsible for some of the fastest growth of the Church right now and will likely be in the future, but when you go to the Cumorah atlas and zoom into some of the maps of Nigeria or the DRC (or really any country that is currently showing high receptivity), there are so, so, so many (in the five figures for all the countries combined) cities and towns that have likely never had missionaries present. Some of these cities are quite large, especially in countries with a more modest but growing presence (such as Tanzania). Several open countries remain entirely unreached or have just one single group or congregation, usually in the capital.

(Part 2 follows)

Pascal Friedmann said...

Asia is also outrageously underreached, especially south Asia. Even if you exclude China and India (which you shouldn't given that political and legal conditions are volatile, especially in India), there are still (semi-)open and initially receptive countries with altogether around a billion people. These include Vietnam, Indonesia, Myanmar, Pakistan, and potentially soon Bangladesh, where religious freedom is generally improving. Large unreached populations remain in Cambodia and Thailand, where missionaries have been serving for a fairly long time but where outreach expansion has slowed due to lack of resources. Nepal, which has a population that has been extremely receptive in the diaspora but almost never gets talked about on a global scale, has a larger population than Texas but exactly one branch (and possibly one unofficial group that may or may not exist in the real world outside of Facebook).

So as much as I love mathematical models to predict future Church growth, they have generally not been made with the real world in mind. We are a religion in its infancy. We need more missionaries, young and old, likely over the next couple of centuries, to capitalize on the incredible untapped potential that continues to exist for our message throughout the world. The financial resources and also the human capital of our missionary force that is slowly but surely growing is being prepared for exactly this challenge. Being aware of all this, even superficially, and at the same time claiming that the Church has peaked or will soon be shrinking into nonexistence is denial bordering insanity.

Johnathan Reese Whiting said...

@Sergio Tourinho

Obrigado pela informação sobre os realinhamentos das missões. :)

MLewis said...

Does anyone know if Nigeria and Chad will remain a part of the Africa West Area? They had been included there up until now:

But the new area presidencies map that takes effect on August 1st shows them as moved to the Africa Central Area:

Wondering if the new map is a misprint or if the countries are being moved and I just missed it.

MLewis said...

Does anyone know if Nigeria and Chad are being moved to the Africa Central Area?

The current map shows them as part of the Africa West Area:

But the new Area Leadership map that takes effect on August 1st shows them as part of the Africa Central area:

Wondering if the move is actually happening or if the map was a misprint.

Gabe said...

When are you going to post the June newsletter?

James G. Stokes said...

Pascal, well said. I had a couple different thoughts in response. In view of the ongoing war in Ukraine, that nation and Moldova are administered by an area seventy who serves under the direction of the Europe North Area presidency. We have also seen larger areas split in a few cases. So it occurred to me to wonder if other regions could be overseen by an area seventy or if significant area realignments could allow more area presidencies to focus more specifically on problematic regions.

It was also somewhat common through the 1930s and 1940s for some apostles to oversee missions, temples, or areas with boots on the ground.

And of course, in the early 2000s, President Hinckley was impressed to send out three of the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles (Elders Oaks and Holland from 2002-2004 and Elder Perry between 2004-2005).

So there are precedents for separate administrations of some nations in some areas, the division of areas to better administrate them, and for apostles to be sent out to directly deal with growth issues.

We've seen how each of those elements could and did lead to growth issues being fixed, so I don't think it's out of the question that any or all of these methods could be used again to reverse negative growth trends.

That being said, the Lord indicated a couple of times in the scriptures that in the last days, the Church will be small in numbers. So I'm not too troubled by negative trends in some areas. It's comforting to me to know that, when the Savior comes again, and each person will need to choose whether to embrace His Gospel or not, that many who may now be waffling in or who have abandoned their faith will come back to it.

John Pack Lambert said...


I choose my wording intentionally. I know Elder Kyungu is from DR Congo, and he did exactly the same job as Elder Mutombo when last a church employee, head of family history gathering operations for DR Congo.

He did not serve a mission. He was actually also for a time not only president of the Nbuji-Maye mission, but for a span of one of the 2 Kinshasa missions. He may also be the ilonly general authority to serve 2 district times as an area seventy. He had that calling both before and after being mission president. His being mission president in Kinshasa seems more to have been as acting mission president while area seventy.

DR Congo is to date the only country in Africa to have 2 general authorities called from it. I keep hoping we see a second South African general authority called, and I have hopes for a second Nigerian as well. I am sure those things will happen, as well as a Bolivian called and much else.

I have no idea when. However if in 2008 I had predicted in 15 years there would be 2 African-American general authorities someone would have called me crazy since there were then only 2 African-American stake presidents.

I have no clue how many African-American stake presidents exist today. I believe there are 2 black mission presidents serving in the US. Both were called from Utah, but they are natives of Ghana and Zimbabwe, so are they African-American?

John Pack Lambert said...

The theory that more former members makes The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints gro less is based on the truly hateful premise that those who are active members of the Church are less intelligent than those who leave the Church. The ehole theory is built on hate and dostain for those of us who continue with the Church.

James G. Stokes said...

Michael, the CDOL still shows that Nigeria pertains to the Africa West Area. Of course, that doesn't mean there won't be a change in the boundaries of the Africa Central and Africa West Area. Also, if you go to the following link, it shows a current map of nations comprising the Africa West Area:

I can confirm on my end that I've not seen anything official from the Church indicating that Chad and Nigeria are now or will be part of the Africa Central Area.

John Pack Lambert said...

I am not sure about the status of Niger and Chad. However the trend over time has been less and less area in the Africa West Area. DR Congo was originally in the Africa West Area.

I could see Chad and Niger coming under the Yaounde Camerron Mission. That would seem more workable than the Nigeria missions due to language issues, and logistically easier than putting them under the Ivory Coast missions.

The other option might be to put them under the mission in Togo and Benin.

Maybe mission assignment talk is too soon.

What is the status of the Church in Burkina Faso. How are things progressing inalienable.

I seem to recall Senegal now has a district. What are things like in Guinea and The Gambia.

The Church dies have experience in majority Muslim Sierra Leone. However Sierra Leone is less Muslim than those other countries, still about 85% I think. Sierra Leone has the best situation for religious tolerance in the world, better than the US or any other country, if you consider all legal and social factors. They had 2 bloody civil wars that never had any sectarian strife.

Nigeria may also be a Muslim country, but the Church mainly exists in the south south with virtually no Muslims. There are Muslims in Lagos and other areas of its hinterland and also in Abuja, but the Church has no presence in the north of Nigeria, and is only moving in the last decade or less to some central parts of the country.

To be fair the meaning and cultural implications of being Muslim in those areas are complex. In some ways it was not until after World War I that many of the common people proactively acted as Muslim, but Islam had been there since 1300 or earlier. That is for places like Mali. In Northern Nigeria the population was very clearly Muslim by 1810 at the latest.

In some places changes are more recent. Ivory Coast had a majority indigenous religion population still in the early 1980s, while today virtually all the population is either Muslim or Christian.

Worldwide most Christians are people not of European descent, and I believe in London most Christians have non-European ancestry.

These factors have played a key role in what has happened in the United Methodist Church, it us the rare US based Protestant Church that is an international organization.

I am more wondering what will happen if the Catholic Church goes in the direction dome in the synod of synodailty seek. Specifically in backing off from declaring homosexual relations sinful. Any wording they put out will probably not be enough to change things in Germany or France, but any push that way will disrupt in Rwanda and DR Congo, and many other places on the African continent.

Unknown said...

@Pascal Friedman, I agree that there are still vast swaths of the earth's population that remain unreached. I hope we see more outreach in those areas, especially places that are currently open to missionary work which have not historically been open, as it can sometimes be a narrow window of opportunity to get foreign missionaries in there to establish a beachhead, so to speak, so that if someday the country becomes less open there will be a domestic missionary force in place and able to carry on the work.

Regarding countries in south Asia that you mentioned as semi-open, I will offer one clarification and one correction. Pakistan is open, but *only* for proselyting to non-Muslims (about 3% of the population), and in practice only to Christians (about 1% of the population) so in terms of present-day missionary opportunities it is more accurate to think of it as a small country of between 2 and 9 million people that is partially open to the church and a large country of 241 million that remains very closed off to the church. Nepal is very closed off to missionary work (most members there either joined the church while living abroad before returning, or are family members of such); in fact, the Nepali constitution explicitly prohibits conversion and allows for laws to enforce such.


Chris D. said...

Also from this August 2023 Area Leadership Map, mentioned in comments above, based off the different shades of grey to show the "approximate" boundaries of each of the current 23 Administrative Areas worldwide. I see that the Baltic Mission, even though part of the EU and NATO, has been grouped together with the missions of the Russian Federation in the "Europe East Area".

And from the "approximate" boundaries represented on the map, I can deduce that the western half of the Republic of Belarus, that is not included in the "Minsk Ward" of the "Moscow Russia Stake", has been added to the area of the Republic of Ukraine, that is not directly under the supervision by any of the 23 Areas currently.

Any comments?

Chris D. said...

Additionally, Did everyone see that Matt added a 3rd and 4th new District organized this last month. The Dzozde Ghana District. And the several Branches within the country of Turkiye, have been organized as the "Europe Central Area District (2236303).

Randolph Finder said...

May not be the best place to ask, but there was a young woman in my wife's ward called to Spokane Washington, Spanish Speaking. It did lead to the question, what missions in the United States & Canada do *not* have missionaries in Spanish.

Also, in regards to Spanish, I was surprised to see Cuba grouped with Mexico rather than the remainder of the Caribbean, any ideas?

David McFadden said...


I would not trust the boundaries of the Area Leadership Chart as shown.

I would be skeptical about believing this map in its entirety.

Russia would be split in two areas with parts of southern Russia and Western Kazakhstan going to Europe Central. Currently, the church doesn't split countries outside the US and Canada, and especially ones with hard borders with the rest of its area.

Batics would be in Europe East.
Afghanistan would be moved to Asia.
Portugal would be moved to Europe Central.
Bentonville Mission will be moved back into the NA SW area.
and a number of other changes

Again, I would definitely not use this map to forecast upcoming area boundaries.

David McFadden said...

Under the map,

I'm skeptical with taking this map too literally until further announcements.

Parts of southern Russia and western Kazakhstan would be split and sent to Europe Central. Currently, no countries outside the US and Canada are split in multiple areas.

Although some areas have quite a diversity (ie. Asia). Areas tend to group those culturally and politically aligned (ie Caribbean Area including parts of South America). There's currently a very hard border between the Baltics (NATO) and Russia/Belarus (CSTO).

Bentonville Arkansas Mission would be included in NA SW area. The Arkansas Little Rock Mission would remain in NA SE Area. Currently, all missions based in a state/province are in the same area (all states/provinces split into multiple areas are due to missions based outside the state). In addition, it would be giving members/congregations/facilities to an already much larger area.

I'm not saying the church can't/wont make these changes, but I'd have to be skeptical before I see something further.

SteveW said...

People who are immigrants from African countries are not considered by most academically or by native born black Americans as "African Americans". I speak as a member of a ward in Minneapolis that is 70% converts, 45% immigrants from 22 countries, including 12 African countries, which also has three African American members. These are very different communities with very different histories, educations, languages, and cultures.
I myself am an Israeli immigrant when I was 11 with my family to California. There is also a convert immigrant from Lebanon in the ward.

SteveW said...

Jack, no church branch in Goma, DRC when I was there in 2019. Not one in Bukavu either. The populations are fairly similar in the Great Lakes region of Africa, but are mixed with various people.

SteveW said...

Jack, no church branch in Goma, DRC when I was there in 2019. Not one in Bukavu either. The populations are fairly similar in the Great Lakes region of Africa, but are mixed with various people.

SteveW said...

Jack, no church branch in Goma, DRC when I was there in 2019. Not one in Bukavu either. The populations are fairly similar in the Great Lakes region of Africa, but are mixed with various people.

SteveW said...

People who are immigrants from African countries are not considered by most academically or by native born black Americans as "African Americans". I speak as a member of a ward in Minneapolis that is 70% converts, 45% immigrants from 22 countries, including 12 African countries, which also has three African American members. These are very different communities with very different histories, educations, languages, and cultures.
I myself am an Israeli immigrant when I was 11 with my family to California. There is also a convert immigrant from Lebanon in the ward.

SteveW said...

People who are immigrants from African countries are not considered by most academically or by native born black Americans as "African Americans". I speak as a member of a ward in Minneapolis that is 70% converts, 45% immigrants from 22 countries, including 12 African countries, which also has three African American members. These are very different communities with very different histories, educations, languages, and cultures.
I myself am an Israeli immigrant when I was 11 with my family to California. There is also a convert immigrant from Lebanon in the ward.

SteveW said...

People who are immigrants from African countries are not considered by most academically or by native born black Americans as "African Americans". I speak as a member of a ward in Minneapolis that is 70% converts, 45% immigrants from 22 countries, including 12 African countries, which also has three African American members. These are very different communities with very different histories, educations, languages, and cultures.
I myself am an Israeli immigrant when I was 11 with my family to California. There is also a convert immigrant from Lebanon in the ward.